BIRMINGHAM Repertory Theatre had to be evacuated after an accidental explosion which sounded like ‘a bomb going off’.
Police raced to the scene at around 8pm on Tuesday (February 13) following reports of a loud bang.
The theatre – where a production of Brief Encounter was set to take place – was evacuated and part of Broad Street placed on lockdown.
Concert-goers watching folk band Iron and Wine at the neighbouring Symphony Hall were told to ‘stay away from the windows’ before all being moved to the main room.
An eyewitness who was in the Symphony Hall told the Observer: “There was a huge bang and everyone just stopped. I instantly thought it was a bomb and so did everyone else around us.
“Police were there within 30 seconds and then we saw huge crowds of people running from the Rep theatre. We were going to go too but were told we could not leave the venue.
“It was really frightening, especially as we did not know where the noise had come from.”
A spokesman from the Birmingham Rep took to social media to confirm the explosion was accidental.
She said: “We can confirm there was a technical fault this evening and the theatre was evacuated as a precautionary measure.
“We’re pleased to report there were no injuries. Many thanks to the emergency services for their help.”
West Midlands Police Chf Supt Danny Long said: “Initially it was unclear what the cause was but despite the potential danger our officers immediately ran into the thick of a very confusing situation. The same is to be said for our colleagues in the fire and ambulance services.
“The public’s response to the situation was just brilliant. Whether it was picking up the phone and reporting the explosion, helping to shelter evacuees or just offering their support to the emergency services on Twitter they really did their city proud.
“All of the emergency services have well-rehearsed plans in place to deal with major incidents like this. Together we work around the clock to keep the people of this brilliant city safe.”